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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Horror > Superhero > Blade 2 (Warner/New Line DVD)

Blade 2 (DTS DVD-Video/New Line/Region 1 DVD)


Picture: B+     Sound: A+     Extras: B     Film: C+



NOTE: This title is now on Blu-ray and you can read more about it at this link:






In 1998, I had my doubts about a film called Blade.  At this point in time there had been very few Vampire films in theaters of late; 4 years since Interview With A Vampire and 6 years since Coppola’s disappointing Dracula.  However, Blade (based on a comic) transcended to the silver screen with ease and even though The Matrix took much credit for its visuals, Blade was doing the same things in terms of action and choreography.  The only letdown with Blade was with some of the special effects that looked a little overdone and fake, but this was due to a mediocre budget and since then many advances with special effects and computer effects have emerged.


Blade 2 picks up with high energy where the first one left off.  This time Blade is still on the prowl trying to rid the world of vampires, but something has happened…there is a ‘new breed’ of vampires that are more advanced than the standard vampire.  These new vampires actually bite other vampires to change them into the super-vampire.


What I liked about Blade 2 was the fact that it still kept many of the originals trademarks, but added more action and kept a good pace with an interested twist on the idea of vampires vs. man.  This one also contained some over-the-top visuals, but you can tell that this sequel had more money to blow and most of that appears on screen, although I would hate to find out what Snipes took home for this film.


Blade was released through New Line back in 1999 and was a pretty awesome disc with lots of extra features and above average quality in terms of picture and sound.  The cinematography was captured very well with the scope image (2.35:1) rendered very well.  The audio was Dolby 5.1 and was charged up with a killer techno soundtrack and great sound design.


Blade 2 in my opinion blows away the original both film-wise and certainly DVD-wise.  Blade 2 was shot in flat rather than scope, which gives it a different look to begin with.  Blade was shot with the light-weight Clairmont Scope Lens, whereas its sequel used non-anamorphic Panavision Lens for its flat 1.85 X 1 production.  The look of the first film was probably the better way to go, so it’s uncertain why the second film would have gone a different direction.  The DVD still looks great and presents the film quite well.  The only complaint might go to some of the darker scenes when detail because a slight problem, but other than that colors look excellent, which is vital in a blood spattered film.


The audio presentation for Blade 2 is certainly one of reference quality and is a blue print model of what a well-designed film should sound like on the DVD format.  New Line is one of the few companies putting out DVD’s in DTS and sometimes in the case of certain titles going the extra mile with a discrete 6th channel placed in the middle rear.  This is one of the best DTS-ES titles on the market.  Next in line would be New Line’s Rush Hour 2, Lord of the Rings Ext. Ed. or Dreamworks’ Gladiator.


As compared to the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track the DTS-ES yields greater results in every category.  Although it is quite apparent that the Dolby track was pumped up in source level to try and compensate it does not come close to matching the fidelity present on the DTS-ES track.  The second scene in the film entitled ‘Bike the Bullet’ is one scene that demonstrates the superb sound design of this film.  When characters are moving about the rear channels become engaged as they pan left to right or in some cases are directly behind you and come through the middle rear ES channel.  Once Blade gets outside the run-down warehouse-type building he encounters some vampires on bikes and once again the soundtrack becomes fully engaged with directional effects of weapons and vehicles moving across the soundstage very well.


Without going to in-depth with the supplements lets just say that there are plenty of extras here to keep that avid fan busy for quite some time.  There are commentary tracks as well as many sections devoted to the making of and the processing of the special effects.  All of which make this DVD a superb example of what to do when it comes to releasing a film such as this onto the format.  The original Blade also contained a plethora of extras for being an earlier released title onto the format, but all of those supplements were crammed onto the same disc.  Blade 2 goes the smart route and presents all the extras with exception of the commentary onto the second disc.  This allows for more space on the movie disc to be devoted to a better bit rate for picture and sound and causes less compression, which is another reason why the Dolby 5.1 EX is a notch above what it tends to be in most cases.


It’s hard to say if that many people will feel the same way about the second installment of Blade the way that I did, but there is no doubt about the DVD of this film, it is certainly a must-have for any audio buffs.  I would expect to see another film to follow this, but the question will be what direction to take and whether or not to change the look at all.  It would be advised to go back to the scope ratio and try to capture the ‘comic book’ look that the first film did, while at the same time using some of the special effects sequences that the second film used.  If nothing else, at least give that film the same equal treatment when it comes out on DVD.



-   Nate Goss


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